JANUARY 2011: A family physician and mother of three, Dr. Michelle Storms is an outspoken proponent of genital integrity. She witnessed her first circumcision while in her residency in Milwaukee. “I was appalled,” she says. “The baby writhed and screamed while being strapped down and cut.”

The feeling of repulsion never went away. Every time she performed a circumcision, she felt physically and emotionally ill. Realizing she was participating in unjustifiable surgery that cuts away functional, healthy tissue, she decided it was simply unethical to perform circumcisions on babies and children who could not consent. In a speech Dr. Storms gave at Intact America’s inaugural press conference, she said, “I knew I would never condone this for my own child, so why would I subject another parent’s child to it?”

In 1988, Dr. Storms stopped performing circumcisions. Over the years she has been ridiculed, patronized, and ostracized for her refusal to promote or participate in the procedure. It was her own sons’ questioning of (and disbelief at) the practice that led her to get involved in the intactivist movement. She now oversees the training of new resident physicians, speaking out against infant circumcision as part of her training program. “I encourage physicians to stop reinforcing and promoting the supposed necessity of circumcising baby boys by facilitating its performance.”

Says Georganne Chapin, Intact America’s executive director, “I am both inspired and moved by Michelle’s perseverance in the face of such pressure from the medical community to conform. One day, doctors will look back and realize that she is a groundbreaker and a true humanitarian. For now, we need to support her and other doctors who are willing to oppose the status quo, and laud her as a model of courage.”

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